Girl In Hollywood
Brightwell & Moran
The story of writing “Girl in Hollywood” This song started with a great guitar riff Woody created, along with some vividly cryptic lyrics that came to him. I’m pretty sure he had the first 2 lines verbatim: “Mom had afternoon daiquiris, sang Tanya Tucker songs in a row.” And then the nuggets of the chorus: “Heroes only get the girl in Hollywood,
The story of writing “Girl in Hollywood” This song started with a great guitar riff Woody created, along with some vividly cryptic lyrics that came to him. I’m pretty sure he had the first 2 lines verbatim: “Mom had afternoon daiquiris, sang Tanya Tucker songs in a row.” And then the nuggets of the chorus: “Heroes only get the girl in Hollywood, with rented billboards on Sunset Boulevard.” As with many of our song collaborations, Woody often provides a striking phrase or compelling image. I bring to the table a need to tell a story and follow a dramatic arc. Then we can dig a little deeper: What is actually happening here? What details do we want to tell, and what do we want to let our audience fill in for themselves? So we started exploring Mom’s story, wondering why she was rocking out to outlaw country music and day drinking. It seemed to be the hallmark of a troubled but resilient woman, whose life had been hard, but she still hung onto her joys and dreams. Was this just her story? We looked to the chorus to inform us: actually, no, there was other information needed to bring the song’s vision to life. Then we entertained the idea in the 2nd Verse that Dad was in the picture too. And maybe he had his own challenges, as his own goals and dreams had to be set aside so he could provide for a family — a family that he was perpetually leaving behind in search of the next job. Perhaps he feared getting used up and tossed out, and never being able to actualize his inner desires. Now we were onto something! The Chorus evolved by using Hollywood images as a metaphor for our deepest dreams, and how our ordinary lives compare to the stuff we see on the silver screen. The gist of the song was that we all hold incredible possibility and beauty in our hearts, but that for many of us, it remains hidden or untapped. By the 3rd Verse, we are finally introduced to the singer of the song, perhaps the child of those parents we talked about earlier. He’s older, but is in touch with his dreams and wants to make them a reality. In fact, the line “I wish I could be out on the road” came directly from our pandemic experience of being cooped up and unable to play shows! On to the Bridge, where we break things down musically, and give a nod to the “ghosts in our past”. Those forces are often the ones that are urging us forward, ancestors inviting us to carry the torch that previous generations have passed to us. Time is of the essence, they say, so go and “get the girl in Hollywood”. Don’t wait to make your dreams a reality. Fun fact: During recording, Dean Baskerville actually used the upbeat and driving theme from “Friends” as a reference track for the band. This sounded a little weird to us at first, but once we got into the groove of the tune, made perfect sense.
Girl In Hollywood 4:200:00/4:20
100 Pairs of Wings
Brightwell & Moran
The Story of 100 PAIRS OF WINGS This was a song that I started many years ago but couldn’t finish on my own. Letting time pass and then working on it with Woody opened up new insights into to the song and what it could be. The key was connecting what the birds were doing to the human experience of letting go. It started with just noticing how the
The Story of 100 PAIRS OF WINGS
This was a song that I started many years ago but couldn’t finish on my own. Letting time pass and then working on it with Woody opened up new insights into to the song and what it could be. The key was connecting what the birds were doing to the human experience of letting go.
It started with just noticing how the neighborhood crows would start migrating around dusk. In midsummer, sitting on the back stoop of our apartment, I would watch them as they flew off, one by one, into the sunset. This happened without fail, and was both fascinating and comforting to me. I marveled at the way they would gather together, numbers increasing as they flew. It was something about them being so connected to each other, compelled by an unseen force to perform the same action at the same time each night. Like a ritual. Or a prayer.
I knew the song that Woody and I wrote had loss built into the structure; we had done that explicitly. We finished it right before the pandemic, but it took on a different meaning as our world was shutting down. Last May, the song came into stark relief when Woody’s wife Lisa passed away. And it evolved again this January as we recorded the song, with me trying to sing the words a week after my father died (spoiler: I literally couldn’t do it and we had to reschedule recording that song).
Crows are common in the mythologies of many cultures around the world. They have been regarded as messengers from the gods or the afterlife. They can be tricksters or a harbinger of death. But science has also weighed in about crow behavior. Crows fly off to roost together in large family groups at night, often sharing a tree or group of trees, in order to protect each other. And crows experience grief and hold “funerals” for their fallen family members. As a highly social species with advanced cognitive skills, they have long memories and attempt to understand their circumstances and solve problems.
This was the teaching the crows had in store for us: it’s OK to let go when the time comes. Your family will gather around to protect you and celebrate your journey. And then you can effortlessly slip into the night. 100 Pairs of Wings is available on all digital and streaming platforms:
100 Pairs of Wings 4:070:00/4:07
Brightwell & Moran
The story of RIVER FLOW: Last Spring, a friend shared a 2019 Facebook post from Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love) that featured the map. It's called a meander map, and this particular one shows all of the various paths that the Mississippi River has taken over millennia (text from original post in the comments). The image by itself was
The story of RIVER FLOW:
Last Spring, a friend shared a 2019 Facebook post from Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love) that featured the map. It's called a meander map, and this particular one shows all of the various paths that the Mississippi River has taken over millennia (text from original post in the comments).
The image by itself was beautiful, but coupled with Liz Gilbert's reflections, it became something larger, more encompassing -- especially read in the context of the Pandemic. When Spring came around again, we found ourselves tentatively hopeful but still sifting through the massive COVID fallout: fear, isolation, disruption, insecurity, suffering, grief.
This map was a tangible reminder of the fact that the forces of nature are shifting constantly, that what seems like the world you know today is just one temporary manifestation of a much larger reality. The river you know in this moment is only one fleeting embodiment of THE RIVER. It was comforting too, because knowing the nature of a river gives us permission to go where life takes us. We can give up our clinging to predictability and safety and instead, surrender to the energy of the flow. Another friend suggested that this should be a song. And as Woody and I wrote the song through our Zoom sessions last Spring, we took Liz's words and married them to our own lives. To me and my family, displaced by COVID and economics, hunkering down in a farmhouse in Minnesota. To Woody and his wife Lisa, spending her last months together at home. To our own individual senses of "Where do we go from here?" as the dreams for our lives that we each previously held onto seemed to disappear. So we did what we had to do: after everything changes, flow river flow ❤️ Track available at all digital and streaming services:
River Flow 3:500:00/3:50
Top Of The World
Brightwell & Moran
The Story Behind TOP OF THE WORLD. This is dedicated to Kelly's Mom and her journey walking the Camino de Santiago in Spain a few years back. It's a song that reminds all of us that we are not alone and the struggle is worth it in the end
Top Of The World 3:330:00/3:33
A Brand New Situation